Recognizing the pervasiveness of cyberbullying, online hate speech, and trolling, BG4Unity aims to persuade people to use social media more responsibly to promote community-building and reduce prejudice. Since the spring semester of 2015, students enrolled in Dr. Lisa Hanasono’s section of COMM 3030: Persuasion have researched, developed, launched, assessed, and maintained BG4Unity on Facebook and Twitter.

By completing their BG4Unity service-learning projects, students utilized their persuasive communication skills to encourage people from BGSU and the Bowling Green community to take a stand against discrimination and offer support to victims of cyberbullying and hate. During the 2015-2016 academic year, students recruited people from our community to create BG4Unity snapshots that challenged everyday stereotypes. Partnering with BGSU’s Student Technology Assistance Center, they also worked in teams to create persuasive BG4Unity videos.

Since February 16, 2015, COMM 3030 students have persuaded over 560 people to create BG4Unity snapshots, and they have cultivated a social network of hundreds of people on Facebook and Twitter. Moreover, they have partnered with local organizations to spread the word about BG4Unity and encourage people to use social media in constructive and community-oriented ways. Here are some highlights of BG4Unity’s activities:

  • Students organized and engaged in BG4Unity’s “Shattering Stereotypes” outreach events at the Bowen-Thompson Student Union.
  • BG4Unity students participated in the Center for Community and Civic Engagement’s (CCCE) Inaugural Showcase and Awards Reception.
  • A team of BG4Unity students partnered with the CCCE to document and publicize the 2016 Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Day of Service.
  • Drew Ashby-King highlighted BG4Unity in a poster session at the inaugural Undergraduate Diversity Symposium at BGSU.
  • BG4Unity team members facilitated social media activism workshops on campus and in the Northwest Ohio area.
  • BG4Unity partnered with the Ohio Department of Aging’s social media initiative and Dr. Magsamen-Conrad’s ICI2K16’s program.
  • BG4Unity collaborated with BGSU students enrolled in SOC 2610 and their instructors to create a collection of snapshots that shattered stereotypes.
  • BG4Unity partnered with the Graduate Student Senate and Office of Multicultural Affairs at a “Challenging Stereotypes” event in 2015.
  • BG4Unity staffed outreach tables at the 2015 Black Issues Conference and the 2015 Not In Our Town Interfaith Community Breakfast.
  • A representative from BG4Unity led a workshop on social media activism at BGSU’s inaugural Multicultural Conference in 2016.

To learn more about this service-learning project, please visit www.facebook.com/BG4Unity and follow @BG4Unity on Twitter!